Jarrow pub boss tells of fears for the trade as he reveals he's working on third Covid-inspired short film

A popular Jarrow landlord says he is working on the third installment in what would be a trilogy of offbeat short documentary films about the town, Covid and the publican’s beloved sector/industry.

Jess McConnell, who runs the Albion Gin and Ale House pub on Walter Street, has produced two other films this year already – the first taking a look at South Tyneside’s NHS effort to contain the pandemic’s first wave and the second serving up a ‘potted history' of the Jarrow’s pubs, along with a tongue-in-cheek vision of what he believes the future may hold for the industry.

His two videos have each racked up several thousand views online.

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The well-known pub boss has now revealed he is working on a third short film to complete a trilogy of Covid-inspired short films produced in 2020. He said the third installment in the series will be a ‘humorous summary’ of the lockdown developments over recent weeks.

Jess McConnell outside his currently-closed pub, The AlbionJess McConnell outside his currently-closed pub, The Albion
Jess McConnell outside his currently-closed pub, The Albion

"Well, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands now,” Mr McConnell told The Gazette following the announcement that South Tyneside pubs would be unable to reopen after the second lockdown ended.

A number of pub owners in the area fear their businesses may go to the wall, after the North East was placed in Tier 3 of the Government’s local lockdown system.

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Mr McConnell said Christmas is an important time for the pub trade and the restrictions could even lead to landlords closing venues in the New Year if they are unable to stay in business.

He has vowed he would ‘fight until the end’, as he and other Jarrow publicans aired their reaction to the prospect of South Tyneside remaining in lockdown until next spring.

Stills from the Jarrow pub landlord's last short film productionStills from the Jarrow pub landlord's last short film production
Stills from the Jarrow pub landlord's last short film production

"Christmas is so important to the licence trade,” he added, suggesting that the plight of local pubs may also feature in the upcoming film.

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"There are so many pubs who are [now] throwing their keys in in January.”

Mr McConnell also said ‘well-known Tyneside entertainer’ John Doonan – part of a five-piece band who play at pub venues across the North East - would star in the film.

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